Israeli media consultant in Maariv: ‘The Haiti Disaster is Good for the Jews’

Israel/Palestine
on 116 Comments

This website and others have come under criticism for discussing how Israel’s supporters are using the disaster in Haiti for propaganda purposes. Both the websites Hybrid States and War in Context have already rebutted this criticism head on, and it seems that the article below provides amazing confirmation of this disturbing trend in Israeli hasbara.

The following article appeared in Maariv, Israel’s second most popular newspaper, and was written by Tamir Haas who identifies himself as a "publicist" and "media consultant." It was translated into English by Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel.

The Painful Truth: The Haiti Disaster is Good for the Jews

As sorry as we are about the horror in Haiti, the current positive attitude to Israel – thanks to the IDF delegation – shows that the country must engage in proactive as well as reactive hasbara.

Tamir Haas 21/1/2010, Maariv-NRG

At a time when our country is under media attack on the basis of harsh and anti-Semitic reports, and we are forced to contend with terrorists who have assumed the winning image of victims of war, one could say that the Haiti disaster is the best thing that could have happened to us. So why are blood, destruction, poverty, hunger and orphans good for the Jewish State? First of all because global attention has been drawn elsewhere and the international media have a more interesting story to cover. Second, because every disaster-area needs a hero, and right now we are it. I must admit that I would not be surprised if the image aspect of setting up a hospital in Haiti, as well as the IDF rescue efforts, was given greater weight than humanitarian considerations. If I am right, then finally, someone in the Knesset has done the right thing, deciding to take advantage of the opportunity to prove to the world how kindhearted and capable we are. And if the Foreign Ministry manages to make further use of the Israeli success stories in Haiti and market them to the world, all the better. We can only hope that none of our talented politicians is caught in front of a camera saying “We showed the world. We were really awesome in Haiti,” or something like that – a distinct possibility considering the recent mess with the Turks. Better to be modest.

Those in Charge Don’t see Hasbara as Warfare

The tough question raised by our success in Haiti is why we do well in the media only when we have the opportunity to star in another country’s disaster, and not on a regular basis? After all, you can’t have a natural disaster every day. The answer to the question is a lack of concerted effort to garner sympathy from the countries of the world, alongside behaviour that actually creates antagonism, such as humiliating ambassadors on camera. Before criticizing current hasbara practice however, we must realize that our biggest problem lies in the way we approach the entire issue of image. First of all, our elected representatives see themselves as politicians rather than statesmen, and so prefer to focus on their own personal interests, rather than on those of the country. Every Israeli citizen is knows this, to the point that we can’t stand our own leaders, so why does it come as surprise that the rest of the world isn’t too crazy about us either? Second, those in charge of the country’s PR don’t see hasbara as warfare, just like any military operation, intended to safeguard and promote our national and security interests. If hasbara were to receive the attention it deserves, with the kind of funding that security gets, our media performance would be better, Foreign Ministry officials would be more professional, foreign ministers would not act like rookies, and most importantly, we would have long-term plans and strategies.

Proof of Amateurishness and Lack of Professionalism

You want proof of the amateurishness and lack of professionalism I’m talking about? Here: “Hasbara is the responsibility of the IDF, not the Foreign Ministry”. This is what Danny Ayalon told participants at a recent conference of the Israel Public Relations Association. Does this mean that there is no hasbara coordination between the IDF and the Foreign Ministry? Is this how Ayalon washes his hands of Israel’s image problem? If so, is it any wonder that he behaves so recklessly, setting the Turkish Prime Minister up for a slam dunk? After all, he seems to think that the consequences, in terms of Israel’s image, are not his responsibility. In the above statement, Ayalon doesn’t even bother to hand some of the responsibility to Information Minister Yuli Edelstein. If the Foreign Ministry doesn’t give a damn about the Information Ministry, why should anyone else?

We have to stop concentrating all of our efforts on reaction and start taking the initiative. There are a lot of things we can do to facilitate hasbara: subsidizing tourism from countries in which Israel suffers from a relatively poor image, or a hasbara unit that would focus on marketing the stories of victims of terrorism (like they do in Gaza), or hasbara designed specifically to appeal to countries with strategic importance, etc. But before we do anything, we must first understand that hasbara is war and should be treated like any other aspect of homeland security. After that, we can move forward.

Note that Richard Silverstein is on this story too.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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116 Responses

  1. cvillej
    January 24, 2010, 10:57 am

    We can only hope that none of our talented politicians is caught in front of a camera saying “We showed the world. We were really awesome in Haiti,” or something like that – a distinct possibility considering the recent mess with the Turks.

    Let’s hope some talented publicist doesn’t get caught saying similar things in public.

  2. potsherd
    January 24, 2010, 11:00 am

    As usual, Israeli PR concentrates on whitewashing bad behavior instead of improving behavior.

    This leads to contradictions between Israeli PR efforts and policies, which just reveal Israel’s hypocrisy. Israelis were so pleased with their PR from Haiti that they’re now talking about adopting Haitian orphans. Unfortunately, in the same edition of the news is a report that they are planning to deport the wife and Israeli-born child of an Ethiopian Jewish immigrant because he had a stroke and moved to a nursing home, whereby they are not living as a family unit.

    • Adam Horowitz
      January 24, 2010, 11:06 am

      Here’s more on the Israelis adopting Haitian orphans story – link to jpost.com

      From the article:

      Israel is looking into adopting Haitians orphaned by the January 12 earthquake, Minister of Welfare and Social Services Isaac Herzog told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday.

      “We see this as part of Israel’s humanitarian outreach,” Herzog said, referring to the IDF medical operation and the Israeli rescue efforts in the Caribbean nation.

      “Haiti was one of the countries that supported us on November 29, 1947, [in the UN vote on the establishment of the state], and now it’s our turn to support them,” he said. . .

      In Israel, families who adopt children from abroad receive €22,000 ($31,097) from the state to help cover the high international adoption fees. Herzog said that all children adopted from Haiti would undergo the standard conversion process to Judaism.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2010, 12:06 pm

        the standard conversion process to Judaism”

        The baptism of fire?

      • potsherd
        January 24, 2010, 1:02 pm

        On the one hand, they import non-Jewish children and convert them to Judaism, on the other hand, they expel Israeli-born children and people with the wrong Jewish parent who have already been practicing Jews. They can convert Haitians but not the Israeli-born children of foreign workers?

        Not to mention the fact that Haiti is closing foreign adoptions due to reports of child abductions.

      • Koozie
        January 24, 2010, 1:51 pm

        link to ejpress.org

        “A US Jewish group has denounced a call by an international evangelical organization to target European Jewry for conversion, declaring it a “serious affront to the Jewish people” and “disrespectful to Judaism’s own teachings.”

        Two legs good. Four legs bad.

      • Koozie
        January 24, 2010, 2:01 pm

        “Herzog said that all children adopted from Haiti would undergo the standard conversion process to Judaism”.

        One can say this much about Haiti and Israel’s bad PR problem, they finally have a plan to snip it in the bud.

        ;)

  3. cvillej
    January 24, 2010, 11:10 am

    hasbara is war and should be treated like any other aspect of homeland security.

    I’ve often suspected, but never been able to prove, that “homeland security” was originally an Israeli concept.

    • Shmuel
      January 24, 2010, 11:55 am

      The increasingly common Hebrew expression Haas uses is “milhamah al habayit“, which literally means “war for [defense of] the home”. It’s more about family and personal physical survival than patriotism. The phrase is used most vehemently when the actual security needs of violent operations are in doubt. Needless to say, it was one of the most frequent memes in the Israeli media during the Gaza massacre. It is also very soldier-speak, and is part and parcel of the propaganda fed to soldiers by their commanders, education officers, chaplains and visiting rabbis.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2010, 12:07 pm

        You are invaluable, Shmuel, thanks.

      • Citizen
        January 24, 2010, 2:20 pm

        US soldiers are taught “it’s better to fight them over there, then here at home.”

    • Psychopathic god
      January 24, 2010, 4:29 pm

      the US Dept of Homeland Security was Joe Lieberman’s brainchild.

      Hi Cville from a Cvillian

  4. sammy
    January 24, 2010, 11:10 am

    “Herzog said that all children adopted from Haiti would undergo the standard conversion process to Judaism.”

    Is that ethical?

    • Mooser
      January 24, 2010, 12:08 pm

      No, but its Kosher.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2010, 12:37 pm

        “Herzog said that all children adopted from Haiti would undergo the standard conversion process to Judaism.”

        Boy-o-boy am I an innocent! I had to read the comments at Silverstein before I tumbled to exactly what the “standard conversion process entails.
        So they will be circumcising boys who are at, or very near, sexual marurity?
        You might as well cut it off!

        I’m signing out for a while. I need to go throw up, and then smoke something strong.

      • yonira
        January 24, 2010, 1:05 pm

        quit making shit up Mooser, I didn’t read anything about adoption of tween age boys, did you?

      • potsherd
        January 24, 2010, 1:42 pm

        That was Silverstein, not Mooser.

      • Mooser
        January 25, 2010, 11:51 am

        So you would snip a two year old? You consider sexually mutilating an infant to be a good practice? Just because they did it to your brothers, doesn’t mean the cycle of mutilation can’t stop with us.
        As a mother, you would mutilate your own child?
        Would you at least insist on a surgeon, or should we just pass around the schlivovitz, pour the last ounce on a rusty knife, and cut away?
        How much do you hate Jewish men, anyway?

  5. Richard Witty
    January 24, 2010, 11:17 am

    So what?

    Now, a sixth article on the hasbara of Israeli and Jewish contributions to Haiti?

    versus one on Haiti’s needs and condition?

    • cvillej
      January 24, 2010, 11:19 am

      Mr. Witty, I think you miss the larger point. Will we ever see an article that states, “one could say that the Gaza disaster is the best thing that could have happened to us.”

      • Citizen
        January 24, 2010, 11:34 am

        Remember when our favorite Israeli leader publicly said 9/11 was a good thing for his people (and quickly corrected his verbal slip)? Remember those 5 dancing Israelis?

      • Egbert
        January 24, 2010, 11:38 am

        You beat me to it.

        “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” Netanyahu in Haaretz

        Remember the Liberty

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2010, 12:40 pm

        Oh Mr. Witty knows what to do about the larger point. Forced circumcision, the “standard conversion process”.

    • VR
      January 24, 2010, 11:47 am

      Witty, I see you still did not have any meeting with divine on shabbat. Why do you attend?

      Besides this, there are now five articles running on Haiti’s condition outside of Israeli hasbara note. I do not see you contributing on these posts, that must mean they do not exist for you – like the Palestinian people.

    • Mooser
      January 24, 2010, 12:10 pm

      “Now, a sixth article on the hasbara of Israeli and Jewish contributions to Haiti?

      versus one on Haiti’s needs and condition?”

      All you had to do was simply type “No.3- You Suck!”

      To see every word Richard ever wrote, or ever will write, or could possibly write, go to:

      link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

    • Psychopathic god
      January 24, 2010, 4:34 pm

      did it make national news that two (not-jewish) sisters from Pennsylvania who had established an orphanage in Haiti managed to keep their charges alive and fed, and got the youngsters transported to safety in a hospital and, later, Roman Catholic orphanage in Pittsburgh, PA. The governor of Pennsylvania was aboard the plane that flew to Haiti to retrieve the children.

  6. Oscar
    January 24, 2010, 11:18 am

    . . . a hasbara unit that would focus on marketing the stories of victims of terrorism (like they do in Gaza) . . .

    This seems to suggest that the Gazans have a well-funded and crackerjack “hasbara unit” that manipulates world opinion through the PR of victimology. Tamir Haas says two can play at that game, let’s talk about our victims. Kind of difficult, given that 1,400 Palestinians were decimated by white phosphorous weapons and limb-shearing DIME cube bombs, and no Israeli citizen lost his life.

    It’s mind-boggling, actually, that Israel continues to believe the rest of the world is as stupid, gullible and compliant as the members of US Congress, that we’ll swallow any Israeli hasbara like fine cuisine. Potsherd is right — we’re expecting for Israel to change bad behavior, not manipulate the rest of the world. Anything less is unacceptable.

    • Citizen
      January 24, 2010, 11:36 am

      Most of the US Congress is basically bribed to repeat hasbara.

    • VR
      January 24, 2010, 11:59 am

      Good post Oscar, the only disagreement I have is that the US congress is stupid, gullible and compliant, they are not. They are fully cognizant and complicit, and they do not care. They purposefully walk hand in hand on Israeli massacres of the Palestinians, because you know, settler states have to stick together and they are completely corrupt.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2010, 12:15 pm

        VR, I hope you aren’t saying that America’s history as a settler state in the 16, 17 and 1800s justifies Israeli intransigence? (No. 4 – The Whole world Sucks!)
        And I don’t think you will be able to find a quote from a US rep or Senator endorsing support for Israel on that basis.

      • VR
        January 24, 2010, 1:56 pm

        No I am not saying that Mooser, but I am saying that this is the common stock and trade of settler states. If you think the fear of settler states is over, that they will never be made to amend for what they have done – look at what happened to the indigenous division of the UN. When indigenous rights was made the issue guess who stood up to oppose them? US, Israel, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, etc. I would not distance the fears of settlers states like the USA to the distant past.

        Secondly, when has a US rep or Senator ever spoken for their true positions? They never do, they are consummate liars. It may not be in the top strata of reasoning, but it is part of the foundation.

    • wondering jew
      January 24, 2010, 3:16 pm

      Oscar- I realize that this will not detract from your general point, but there were three Israeli civilians killed by Hamas rockets during the war on Gaza, (plus 6 Israeli soldiers killed besides the 4 Israeli soldiers killed by friendly fire).

      • potsherd
        January 24, 2010, 3:37 pm

        And they would all most likely be alive today if Israel wouldn’t have attacked Gaza and started another war.

    • Psychopathic god
      January 24, 2010, 4:37 pm

      suggest we all send out local congresspersons and senators a copy of the hasbara manual.

      link to middle-east-info.org

  7. Eva Smagacz
    January 24, 2010, 11:35 am

    Israeli hasbara never miss an opportunity to milk an opportunity ….. like Haiti.
    (read on internet)

    • MRW
      January 24, 2010, 5:47 pm

      The problem, to me, is that they milk it of the exclusion of everyone else involved with the rescue. Can you ever imagine Israel saying we worked with the Mexicans and Brazilians and French and Canadians to do X? Not a chance.

      Americans are taught from a young age and in school to shun people like thse. We were taught this was unacceptable behavior. It goes against the grain of being an American, although it’s a universal teaching in good families and kind societies. Universal everywhere except Israel. That’s why so many register such disgust with Israel’s so-called image tactics. And all those here who make exceptions for it are out of line, and out of century. Out of time.

  8. Taxi
    January 24, 2010, 11:49 am

    What a classy lot those Israelis are!

    • Psychopathic god
      January 24, 2010, 4:47 pm

      Torah = hasbara

      (Joshua 6:1-7)

      1 Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors. 3 And you shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days. 4 Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 And it shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead.”

      you see — Jericho, the first conquest in Israel’s god-commanded destruction of the people of Canaan (now Palestine) was NOT accomplished with iron or arrows or even bombs, it was accomplished with orchestrated words and sounds calculated and deployed to deceive, terrorize, and destroy.

      That is the religion of Israel.

      • Citizen
        January 24, 2010, 4:57 pm

        Anyone ever read a direct justification of what the Jews did to the denizens of Jericho according to their own scribes? I’ve never seen it. I mean, something other than G-D told them to…. Jewish or Christian justification?

      • Mooser
        January 25, 2010, 11:40 am

        “Anyone ever read a direct justification of what the Jews did to the denizens of Jericho according to their own scribes?”

        You want justification? If it hadn’t been for that, Surrond Sound 5.1 would never have been invented! It also gives hard-rock bands something to aspire to.
        But I do admire, in the face of modern research, your reliance on Biblical inerrancy. It’s cool.

      • Mooser
        January 25, 2010, 11:37 am

        Thanks for bringing up that quote, Psycho Goad! That is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind when I set up the amplifier and rotary-horn system for my A-100!
        I’ve managed to vibrate a poorly secured heating vent right out of the wall, and my wife thinks I can crack a window if I try.

        “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho,
        And the walls came a-tumbling down!”

        Jericho, Hicksville, Syosset, Plainview, it’s pretty much the same, but stay out of Cold Spring Harbor! I think it was red-lined.

  9. Citizen
    January 24, 2010, 11:52 am

    Do any of the other countries helping Haiti have a press unit with them? And are those other helping countries getting a splash from the USA MSM?
    link to forward.com

  10. Sin Nombre
    January 24, 2010, 12:44 pm

    Once again, yet another article essentially implying that Israel reacted as it did in Haiti due to PR purposes without a molecule of direct evidence (and this time with no circumstantial evidence either) that even one of the many Israelis who must have been involved in the making of the decision to go to Haiti had that intent. And this of course doesn’t even take into account the doubtlessly selfless intentions of all the Israelis who are part of Israel’s Haitian effort, nor of the Israeli taxpayers who are funding it.

    Even if to some limited degree a not-entirely unreasonable suspicion worthy of passing mention, unbalanced in the extreme. Unbalanced by their paucity of evidence, unbalanced by their reliance on this or that Israeli naturally noticing the good reaction its efforts elicit in the world just as anyone would, unbalanced by *criticizing* people for recognizing that doing good is good, and, finally, unbalanced by the total lack of mention of the details of that good in Haiti, it’s costs to the Israelis, the human toil and toll taken on the Israelis taking direct part in it in Haiti, and etc. and so forth.

    Appeals to the pompous and intellectually immodest instinct in all of us—and which we all probably succumb to on occasion—to see ourselves as some moral exemplars via perceiving everything as either totally black, or totally white.

    I respectfully but heartily dissent.

    • Mooser
      January 24, 2010, 12:49 pm

      In Jewish ethics, the anonymous, or unheralded gift is considered the highest form of charity. Deal with it.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2010, 12:53 pm

        And BTW, the motives of the individuals involved in the Israeli effort may be good, nobody disputes that. And they have no control over how the Israeli regime, or its supporters elsewhere, use their efforts.
        If you want to go further, I might even say that the hasbara products are an insult to the pure and charitable motives of the people involved. Happy now?
        So let’s see how long they stay.

      • Mooser
        January 24, 2010, 12:54 pm

        But I’ll give you this, Sin; on this subject, you are very witty.

      • VR
        January 24, 2010, 2:56 pm

        I would agree with the individual aspect Mooser, that there were some or maybe all directly involved in the effort that had good motives for the Haitian people. This is a distinct possibility, but it still does not address the official purpose for the mission, nor the PR element of the entire effort as played by the Israeli government.

        One could bring several comparisons to mind, like the efforts to help Palestinian women when they face domestic abuse in Gaza. I would not automatically dismiss the motives of the women directly involved, but I would definitely point out the fact of how it was played in the media as a PR opportunity. People with good intentions are always used by the political element, it just does not dismiss the political dimension played by the state. That political dimension of PR activity is exacerbated by the stark contrast of a murderous and seeming never ending colonial occupation, so Israel pays for its own atrocities in the public arena.

    • Shmuel
      January 24, 2010, 1:10 pm

      SN,

      It’s not just the really massive and shameless official and semi-official PR campaign that has surrounded the mission (both internally and externally) from the word go, or the hypocrisy in caring about some lives (far away) and totally disregarding others (nearby). There’s the testimony of Prof. Yoel Donchin, which did not detract from the efforts of the members of the Israeli delegation, but suggested that the relief mission was deeply flawed on an organisational level – because its primary purpose was PR and not humanitarian aid. If Donchin is to be believed, that will cost Haitian lives, no matter how selfless the teams themselves may be.

      My dad used to work with Prof. Donchin, and if there is anyone in Israel who knows about such rescue missions – both professionally/medically and organisationally, it’s Donchin. He actually pioneered them in Israel, going on almost all of thems and learning from their successes and failures. He is also a man of integrity, although no stranger to the PR aspect of his work.

      • Sin Nombre
        January 24, 2010, 3:01 pm

        Shmuel:

        I’ll grant you that Prof. Donchin’s comments constitute the biggest evidence for the thesis. It is still indirect (circumstantial) evidence however, and seems to me to be thin gruel at that: Just because he knows how a government—and the Israeli gov’t at that—would *ideally* give aid in response to a crisis doesn’t mean that when it doesn’t respond ideally it’s proof of a having a primary intent other than to merely give aid. Lots and lots of other things could account for same: The perceived need for speed, the mere reasoning “hell, let’s give what we got ready now and we’ll send the rest later,” the idea that “others (such as the U.S.) are better situated to provide that other stuff (which may indeed have been checked on) so we’ll just concentrate on sending our other stuff,” and on and on.

        I’ll also wholeheartedly agree that some of the *media* focus on the Israeli effort smells, but that says nothing about the intent behind the effort of course, and what media stuff *doesn’t* seem smarmy at best and agenda-driven at worst?

        A couple of interesting tests:

        A.) Not even using the criminal “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, how many would say that the *preponderance* of the evidence shows that Israel responded as it did not primarily to render aid but for the PR purpose?

        Seems to me that those who say “yes” are overly susceptible to believing things proven when they are not.

        Yet another one: Who really really believes that *but for* the PR benefit Israel would not have responded as it did?

        Seems to me those who are *unwilling* to say this oughta admit then that too much is being made suggesting the opposite.

      • VR
        January 24, 2010, 3:22 pm

        SN, you have to do two things to come up with a scenario like you propose. First, you have to attribute pure motives to the upper echelons of the Israeli government because this is where the yes decision came from (whereas the initial idea may have come from below). Secondly, you have to dismiss the real reasons for most media in states, as an instrument to echo and second what the ruling elite in a state proposes.

        So, I would say with those considerations your position is a bit of a stretch. However, I certainly have no problem believing that the individuals directly involved in the relief effort had good motives in the main.

      • Shmuel
        January 24, 2010, 4:49 pm

        I understand your point, SN, which is that the Israeli delegation is doing a lot of good, and we should give credit where credit is due, and not presume a preponderance of ulterior motives.

        On giving credit where credit is due, you’ll get no argument from me. And certainly, Donchin may have an axe to grind, and he admitted that he had been kept out of this operation and was merely commenting from his armchair – albeit a professional, experienced, insider armchair. The fact that Israel sent camera crews and PR people is, in and of itself, neither here nor there, and of course it was their job to call up the networks and ensure maximum coverage.

        So where does this icky feeling come from? Despite Mr. Hass’ criticism, Israel and especially official Israel, is obsessed with its image abroad. It truly believes that it is consistently misjudged, and that when it is nasty, it has excellent reasons to be nasty – even if nasty makes for bad press. So it is constantly is search of ways in which to improve its image. It pushes its scientific, technological and cultural acheivements at every possible opportunity. It desperately wants to be cool and loved, so it shows sexy babes on the beach and boasts of its “city that never stops” and per capita number of startups. It “re-brands” itself periodically, to distract the world from the “unavoidable nastiness that’s not our fault anyway”.

        In 1988 someone (maybe even Yoel Donchin) came up with the bright idea that sending humanitarian aid to earthquake-stricken Armenia could win Israel some major brownie points in the compassion department – and it worked! So they did it again and again. Eventually Israel truly became a world expert in disaster relief, and sending such delegations became almost a matter of routine. And they were always accompanied by the IDF Spokesman’s Unit camera crew, and there’s nothing wrong with that (although the same unit – in which I myself served – exploits such footage to whitewash the criminal organisation it represents).

        But something’s happened over the past few of years. Israel has gotten even more aggressive and shameless in its oppression and discrimination, while, at the same time, getting more self-righteous and indignant at the slightest hint of criticism. So it created an Information Ministry (Misrad Ha-Hasbarah in Hebrew), and launched an elaborate PR campaign called “Brand Israel”, and started recruiting hasbara operatives (paid and volunteer) in Israel and around the world. It is in fact very taken with the “Hasbara War”, and Haas is neither an original-thinker nor a PR saviour, but the Israeli on the street who feels that he’s been shafted in the world, and it’s all the fault of bad PR! (when it’s not rabid anti-Semitism – which he senses is an inadequate explanation). Haas is not alone even in the disgustingly callous way he thinks and talks about the suffering of Others who aren’t Us.

        So it’s war, and all’s fair. Their enemies (those media-savvy Gazans) will stop at nothing, so why should Israel be a “beautiful soul” and play by the rules? (An argument we have heard all too often with regard to Israeli bombs, bullets and blockades.)

        Under these circumstances, can we really presume good faith, when there are indications (not incontrovertible evidence, to be sure) to the contrary – in terms of clearly planned post factum PR exploitation, a few cogent arguments about “photogenic” assistance (e.g. state-of-the-art machines that go ping, as opposed to chemical toilets), and mass participation in the hasbara effort (up us, down the Arabs) by the unofficial legions of spamming Israel-defenders?

        What I see is a whole lot of people, official and unofficial, using human suffering as a means to a very different end. By Kantian standards, that is decidedly unethical and worthy of condemnation.

      • James North
        January 24, 2010, 5:00 pm

        Shmuel: Surely also unethical by Martin Buber’s standards?

      • Shmuel
        January 24, 2010, 5:06 pm

        Certainly James, and Emmanuel Lévinas as well, but the second maxim of the Categorical Imperative seemed more concisely apt here.

      • Citizen
        January 24, 2010, 5:07 pm

        So when is the Kantian moral imperative applicable to real life, to especially politics as usual? Bernay-Goebbels is very much in command; it’s the post-1945 way of presenting reality. Has any country’s leaders been called to account
        as the Germans were in 1945?

        Some have been killed by legal or back street means, but, nobody can call to task the USA or Israeli regimes.

        The USSR collapsed; the USA-Israel superpower will meet a future doom; the angles are still being made from which to pull this marriage made in hell down.

      • Mooser
        January 25, 2010, 11:46 am

        Shmuel, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I am very happy we have people here who are from Israel commenting, familiar with the language, the culture (such as it is), the systems, and even the personalities involved.
        Stay well, and keep commenting, and I’m glad, too, that you are not the only one commenting from that perspective.

    • Donald
      January 24, 2010, 1:39 pm

      This post doesn’t do what you say it does. And if you click on the links to Hybrid States and War in Context, heartily endorsed in the second line, you’d see that they give full credit to the good intentions of the Israelis giving aid.

      It’s one thing to consider this blog one-sided and criticize it for that (I think the main problem here is in a few of the commenters, those who have actual anti-semitic feelings), but in your rush to make this point you read into this post all sorts of sins that it doesn’t commit.

    • Citizen
      January 24, 2010, 4:49 pm

      How many Americans (the few that find it profitable to do the long form 1040) would do charitable Gifting without the IRS deduction? Here, want some of Bill Clinton’s old underwear shorts?

      But, let’s not be to cynical about governmental motivations–I bet some poor slob is wearing Bill Clinton’s old shorts right now. Better than total freedom for the old scrotal sack, yes?

    • Avi
      January 24, 2010, 5:45 pm

      Your posts illustrate the severe lack of understanding of the Israeli establishment and the system as a whole. A person who is familiar with the level of cynicism of the Israeli establishment wouldn’t be saying the things you’re seeing. I’ll leave it at that.
      Whenever you have a chance, read up a little about Lochama Psychologit. Incidentally, you were the same person who a few days ago argued that “Palestinian terrorism” has played a decisive role in shaping the politics between the right and the left in Israel. I don’t think it has and I don’t think there is a difference. And your thesis didn’t hold any water then, as it doesn’t now.

      • Mooser
        January 25, 2010, 11:55 am

        Wait a minute, Avi! Haven’t we been over this before? Aren’t you from Israel? And you are trying to tell Americans about the country you actually lived in?
        C’mon, do you take American Zionist-supporters for fools?

  11. Mooser
    January 24, 2010, 12:48 pm

    Please use quote marks, italics and/or blockquote to set off quoted material, Adam.
    It gets confusing. For a minute, I thought you wrote the last paragraph!
    Even tho it says “the following article” it might be better to more clearly diffirentiate quoted material. Just a minor shtickle.

  12. MRW
    January 24, 2010, 3:48 pm

    Israel was the only country that I know of that crowed about how helpful it was…in the global media. (It had no choice but to help, actually.) I can understand crowing at home, but lifting your shirt to show your muscled chest to the world, and pulling down your pants to prove the size of your dick and whooping as proof of how well-endowed you are to lend a helping hand is, frankly, low-rent. But that’s what we’ve come to expect of Israel.

    Qatar beat the Israelis there by a day with a c-17 (bigger than the two planes Israel sent combined) with more disaster relief (50 tonnes) and a field hospital and medical teams than Israel sent. Canada sent 80 helicopters in huge non-stop military cargo planes before we got there, and rescue teams, docs, and money. 127 countries contributed to this effort, and Israel crows it saved a Haitian! Official! Look how the world loves us! Look how wonderful we are! How kind!

    Every country reports its participation. That’s not unusual. What is tiring and pervasive about Israel is that it wants the whole world to know what its done. Like some seedy 13-year-old that scored his first babe.

    And oh, BTW, the Israelis go home tomorrow — Monday — because they’ve decided the rescue mission is over. They’ll leave the real work, the clean-up and the feeding to someone else.

    Nice translation, Shmuel.

    • Citizen
      January 24, 2010, 4:08 pm

      Hard to top MRW here; I won’t even try, but here’s something you might smell as a tad self-deceptive:

      A feature from The Media Line (written by Brian Joffe-Walt, son of Rabbi Brian Walt):

      Dahlia Scheindlin, an Israeli public opinion researcher and political strategist … (said) “Israelis hate when they are seen only in light of the conflict, especially when they are seen as aggressors, and they feel that most of the world is against them, with the possible exception of America.”

      “As a result, Israelis are extremely supportive of anything that shows them in a better light because it’s so rare that they get any good news about how they are viewed in the rest of the world,” Scheindlin said. “We see this whenever there is global attention towards Israel for anything other than the conflict. This happened recently, for example, when an Israeli won the windsurfing gold medal or when an Israeli astronaut died.”

      “That said, do I think the government participated in this aid effort for publicity? Absolutely not,” she said. “I don’t think it was a cynical move. Israel would have participated anyway. But Israelis do try to use these things to try to leverage a better image for themselves around the world.”

      • potsherd
        January 24, 2010, 4:22 pm

        It’s encouraging evidence that Israel is getting so much bad publicity they are desperate to be seen in a better light. From here in Darker America, this isn’t always apparent.

      • MRW
        January 24, 2010, 4:30 pm

        If they would just shut up, they would get more.

      • Citizen
        January 24, 2010, 4:39 pm

        Gaza, the taboo that will no longer shut up.

  13. MRW
    January 24, 2010, 4:33 pm

    The problem with Israel is that it thinks the menu can suffice for the meat.

  14. Citizen
    January 24, 2010, 4:37 pm

    Here’s a list of aid to Haiti by country, including $$ promises and government direct aid; you can judge for yourself whether Israel deserves to hog all the good PR press coverage, as, e.g., On CNN:
    link to wtop.com

    If you google the subject of aid for Haiti you will notice various links saying the UN thinks Japan is not giving enough aid.

    Compare US and Canadian aid.

    • MRW
      January 24, 2010, 4:50 pm

      Here’s an even more detailed list:
      link to en.wikipedia.org

      • MRW
        January 24, 2010, 4:57 pm

        And BTW, the link you cite says that Israel sent 150 doctors and rescue workers.

        They sent about 15 doctors. The rest were IDF and early reports said about 292 soldiers. The rescue team with doctors was in Mexico at the time rescuing some Israelis who were downed in a plane crash.

        The Wikipedia article contains links to the original reports from the different, which is helpful. Brian Williams was the one who reported the 80 Canadian helicopters in huge cargo planes while he was at the Haiti airport.

  15. potsherd
    January 24, 2010, 4:39 pm

    Israeli aid organizations speak up opposing the plans to import Haitian orphans. link to ynetnews.com

    “We laud the moral decision to adopt Haitian children, but call on Israel’s government to show the same compassion and humanity toward the 1,200 immigrant workers who live in Israel,” founder of Israeli Children Organization Rotem Ilan told Ynet.

    Surprisingly, the Israel National Council for the Child (NCC) also expressed its fierce objection. “Children of foreign workers and offspring of asylum seekers live under very dire conditions in Israel, while the government and Welfare Ministry refuses to address their issues,” said Executive Director of the NCC Dr. Yitzhak Kadman in a conversation with Ynet.

    According to Kadman, “It’s good that Israel opens its heart to the hardship of children from the third world, but first it must take care of those that are already living among us.”

    Kadman warned that transferring orphans from Haiti to Israel might cause them great damage: “Although the intention shows good will and concern, it is the wrong solution. If there are resources that can be allocated to the children of Haiti – they should be allocated toward aiding them and their country.

    Extracting children that have gone through major trauma to a far away country where they will be detached from their culture and extended families is a dire mistake,” said Kadman.

  16. Sin Nombre
    January 24, 2010, 5:14 pm

    VR wrote:

    “SN, you have to do two things to come up with a scenario like you propose. First, you have to attribute pure motives to….”

    While I’ve clearly stated my view on this issue this is interesting to me now aside from its merits. That is, to me what VR is doing is saying that there ought to somewhat of a *presumption* of impure motives, and that the burden of persuasion for the substantive thesis here ought to lie on those who say that ulterior motives were not the main impetus for Israel’s Haiti effort.

    While kinda brilliant on VR’s part it seems to me seriously wrong-headed to *presumptively* condemn someone . And I’ve still noticed what seems a studious avoidance to those questions I put earlier so I’ll ask ‘em again to see if I can force anyone to belly up to the bar:

    (A) Just using the same standard of proof required, say, to hold you responsible for a car accident, how many here would really say that they think the *preponderance* of the credible evidence available shows that Israel responded as it did not primarily to render aid but instead for the PR purposes? (And remember, “evidence” does not mean the assessing how many others merely believe something too, unless perhaps they have some specialized basis for their opinion like Donchin.)

    Seems to me nobody would wanna be found “at fault” based on what exists.

    (B) Who really really believes that *but for* the PR benefit Israel would not have responded as it did? That is, it was the *necessary* condition for that aid to have been given, without which it would not have been given.

    As I said before seems to me those who are *unwilling* to say this with something like this oughta admit that they think too much can too easily be made of the opposite suggestion.

    But, regardless of what I might make of the answers, how many are there out there who’d really say “yes” to either?

    • Citizen
      January 24, 2010, 5:42 pm

      Hey, who can tell the main motive of an American who donates to charity and gets a deduction from his or her income Tax? Some would donate without the IRS deduction, some would not. To bring up the motive issue at all simply means observers
      realize the benefit of the doubt could go either way–you think Israel is less concerned with its image in the world than the USA?

    • Avi
      January 24, 2010, 5:48 pm

      Sin Nombre

      Your posts illustrate the severe lack of understanding of the Israeli establishment and the system as a whole. A person who is familiar with the level of cynicism of the Israeli establishment and the standard operating procedure inherent in the PR, wouldn’t be saying the things you’re seeing. I’ll leave it at that.

      Whenever you have a chance, read up a little about Lochama Psychologit. Incidentally, you were the same person who a few days ago argued that “Palestinian terrorism” has played a decisive role in shaping the politics between the right and the left in Israel. I don’t think it has and I don’t think there is a difference. And your thesis didn’t hold any water then, as it doesn’t now.

      (This post appears in error a few comments above).

  17. yonira
    January 24, 2010, 5:19 pm

    You people are sick, lives are being saved and you still try to spin it into some anti-Israel tirade.

    Your motives and ideas are so fucking skewed its absurd. This is the exact same way you treat the Palestinians, its like your hatred of Israel and the West is your first concern and the Palestinians are just an afterthought.

    • potsherd
      January 24, 2010, 5:28 pm

      So yonira agrees that the Haiti Earthquake is good for the Jews.

      • yonira
        January 24, 2010, 5:45 pm

        I am a Jew, I am feeling no benefit from the earthquake.

      • potsherd
        January 24, 2010, 5:51 pm

        Then why are you condemning the people on this site instead of the Israelis who rushed to make a PR benefit from someone else’s disaster? And the reporter who advocates this?

      • Mooser
        January 25, 2010, 12:00 pm

        “I am a Jew, I am feeling no benefit from the earthquake.”

        Sorry, Yosie, I’ll see what I can do about it. Would you like a small Haitian boy to practise on?

    • Citizen
      January 24, 2010, 5:30 pm

      Americans, yonia, are constitutionally allowed to criticize all US government actions; they do not need to buy their government’s explanation for anything it does, including charitable giving. Mondoweiss is a web site that originates from the USA. Unlike the USA MSM, in the USA presently outside the whore MSM, a web site can criticize anything; this includes all USA regime and USA enabled Israeli actions and non-actions. Israel is thus not immune from criticism. The USA is neither Israel or Germany. So far, free speech still prevails. Well, only in so far as Mondoweiss
      anti-MSM prevails; otherwise, Israel is actually a better example of free speech on the US-Israeli pact–despite being censored by the IDF. Forget about the Germans, they have no free speech when it comes to Israel.

    • Shmuel
      January 24, 2010, 5:41 pm

      Spare us your righteous indignation Yonira. The only spin I’ve seen is the kind that views this whole disaster as “good for the Jews” – filled with non sequiturs like “Judge Goldstone, where are you now? Eating your heart out and hanging your head down in shame I hope“, or lies about how Israel’s perceived enemies (Arabs, Muslims, Cuba. Venezuela) have sent no aid. On the other hand, I have seen posters on this site, most notably James North, showing true concern for the actual people of Haiti – as an end not a means.

    • Cliff
      January 24, 2010, 7:28 pm

      If we are in fact simply hating on Israel to hate on Israel (oh and apparently, ‘the West’) – then what is the reason for our hatred?

      I think it’s clear, that our criticism is not of the Haitians or their plight. It is of this PR campaign. Yes, people are being saved. However, the premise you assume is that States do this stuff purely out of ‘goodness’.

      Did you know that Israel was supporting the Central American military juntas in the 1980s while the US was banned from doing so? Amidst death squads, genocide of the Mayans, etc.

      Israel also supported White South Africa, did it not?

      Oh and what about the on-going blockade of Gaza? The occupation, and colonization?

      Seems a bit paradoxical to be doing those things, past and present, and then sending humanitarian aide.

      Don’t Zionists often tout Jewishness around as a superior ‘entity’ (whether it be racial or communal)? Would not the Haitians fall into the ‘inferior’ category? Like how you have referred to the Palestinians (as not being ‘ready’ for globalization, in your words)?

      I think you, yonira, care about this PR stunt because it mitigates the negative stuff Israel does. But it is meaningless then. Since, you’ve insulted the Palestinians in various ways (whether it be their intelligence or their community as a whole), why should your comments be anymore disingenuous than ours?

      I don’t agree with what you’ve said. However, if it is correct, then you would still be as insincere. After all, you can’t degrade Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians and expect people to believe you love Haitians. Clearly, based on your past comments, you would bring up the superiority of Jews to Haitians if such a situation arose that put said groups at odds.

      I think the most telling thing is that you said “lives are being saved.”

      It’s like those Army recruitment commercials where they show American soldiers saving…American soldiers. Or in movies, like Hurt Locker – the American (European) protagonist, possesses traits that make him or her essentially like a Patron Saint to the Natives.

      You are more concerned with this act than of the humanity of those people. If you were concerned with their humanity, then you would logically be concerned with the humanity of the Palestinians.

      This was a political move. It does not mean Israelis don’t care, but that institutionally, ‘caring’ is second to ‘interests’.

      • Cliff
        January 24, 2010, 7:32 pm

        Oh forgot to clarify.

        I mean to say, you are more concerned with the ‘act’ of heroism (vanity) than the humanity of the Haitians.

        I will admit, being so far away from any real-life tragedies (in my comfortable existence), I too am a voyeur. However, I am not congratulating power structures on their adherence to what is really just standard moves in world politics.

        I mean, didn’t Egypt send aid? Maybe Iran did? I dunno. Does that absolve them of their internal issues?

        Context, baby.

    • Citizen
      January 25, 2010, 10:16 am

      No, yonira–here’s what’s sick:
      link to marcovilla.instablogs.com

  18. Citizen
    January 24, 2010, 5:47 pm

    9/11 was also “good for the jews” according to Israel’s leader:
    link to haaretz.com

    • yonira
      January 24, 2010, 5:51 pm

      Jesus Citizen, there is a difference between Jews and Israel. re-read the fucking headline!

      I am a Jew and 9/11 wasn’t good for me.

      • potsherd
        January 24, 2010, 5:54 pm

        Then why aren’t you condemning Netanyahu, who made the claim, who is happy that Americans died because Israel could benefit from the disaster?

      • MRW
        January 24, 2010, 6:08 pm

        Ditto.
        ============

      • Citizen
        January 24, 2010, 6:33 pm

        Hey, yonira, haven’t you listened to USA political leaders? They are the ones that
        continually conflate all Jews and Israel. The usual verbal nexus is mentioning the Holocaust as soon as anyone mentions other than totally great: the special relationship, shared values etc.

      • Mooser
        January 25, 2010, 12:05 pm

        “Jesus Citizen, there is a difference between Jews and Israel.”

        Well, here’s a whole new direction from Yonira! Yonila, I hope you are not telling me that when the boxcars line up and the Cossacks come to get me, Israel won’t be there for me? I was counting on it!

  19. Richard Parker
    January 24, 2010, 6:08 pm

    I’ve come in late on this discussion, as usual; my time is 12 hours ahead of the US EST, so I’m asleep while you’re all witing screeds.

    However, I did post, over several days, comments on James North’s article:
    Why Port-au-Prince Collapsed
    link to mondoweiss.net
    which I might suggest you read (there are some useful links, including the strange and suspicious hacking incident on War in Context).

    My last comment there was made on 23 January at 8:27 pm. There are no further comments after it, so I suppose that by that time, James’ article had fallen off the Mondoweiss commenters’ radar.

  20. Richard Parker
    January 24, 2010, 6:35 pm

    MRW has confirmed that the Israeli IDF team (plus their Press Office and TV teams) are leaving Haiti today, Monday 25 January.

    They have been there for precisely 11 days, and there are no definitive reports that I can find of any continuing Israeli aid effort, although many say the Israelis are there for the ‘long term’.
    Haiti mission winds down
    link to ynetnews.com

    The only conclusion must be that Israel has conducted a very cynical PR exercise
    resulting in such reports as:

    Media-wise it’s been a very successful week for Israel said Shariv. “Around the world we have gotten some very good press. But we don’t look at it that way. That’s not why we are doing this.Jewish Week (NY-based)
    link to thejewishweek.com

    That’s precisely why they did it; hasbara plus.

    • Citizen
      January 25, 2010, 10:03 am

      Israelis to rap up operations, return to Israel
      “Jan. 25, 2010
      JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
      The Israeli team which has been assisting with disaster relief in Haiti will wrap up its operations and leave the Caribbean country on Wednesday, Israel Radio reported Sunday night.

      The IDF field hospital will be packed up in the coming days, the report added.”

  21. Richard Parker
    January 24, 2010, 7:06 pm

    yonira January 24, 2010 at 5:19 pm
    You people are sick, lives are being saved and you still try to spin it into some anti-Israel tirade.
    Your motives and ideas are so fucking skewed its absurd. This is the exact same way you treat the Palestinians, its like your hatred of Israel and the West is your first concern and the Palestinians are just an afterthought.

    Yonira, some 200,000 Haitians are reortedly already dead as the result of the earthquake. By the usual ratios, 3:1, some 600,000 survivors are gravely injured, and may die if there is no adequate medical care.

    So the Israelis pull out their medical team today having gained their PR coup.

    • Citizen
      January 25, 2010, 10:05 am

      Israelis to rap up operations, return to Israel
      “Jan. 25, 2010
      JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
      The Israeli team which has been assisting with disaster relief in Haiti will wrap up its operations and leave the Caribbean country on Wednesday, Israel Radio reported Sunday night.

      The IDF field hospital will be packed up in the coming days, the report added.”

  22. Richard Parker
    January 24, 2010, 7:27 pm

    MRW got it right
    Qatar beat the Israelis there by a day with a c-17 (bigger than the two planes Israel sent combined) with more disaster relief (50 tonnes) and a field hospital and medical teams than Israel sent. Canada sent 80 helicopters in huge non-stop military cargo planes before we got there, and rescue teams, docs, and money. 127 countries contributed to this effort, and Israel crows it saved a Haitian! Official! Look how the world loves us! Look how wonderful we are! How kind!
    link to qnaol.net

    • Julian
      January 25, 2010, 6:48 am

      Wrong as always.
      link to expertclick.com

      • Shingo
        January 25, 2010, 6:52 am

        Wrong again Julian.

        According to your link:

        “Israel flew 2 giant planes in Thursday night Jan.14th’”

        The contingent from Qatar got there earlier.

        Nice try though.

  23. Rehmat
    January 24, 2010, 8:14 pm

    It seems Mark Glenn was right when wrote “Haiti Natural Disaster-made in Israel?”

    “Good things come to those who wait”, as the old saying goes. For me, it was an email I received this morning from one of the dozens of lists I am on. In this case, it was a link to a story appearing on an Israeli news site written some time ago entitled “Israel Makes Waves by Simulating an Earthquake” that read in part as follows–

    “The Seismologic Division of the Ministry of National Infrastructure’s Geophysical Institute will attempt to simulate an earthquake in the southern Negev on Thursday. The experiment, financed by the U.S. Defense Department, is a joint project with the University of Hawaii and is part of a scientific project intended to improve seismological and acoustic readings in Israel and its environs, up to a 1,000 km/621 mile radius.

    The experiment intends to improve the understanding of sound waves in the atmosphere. Scientists will then be able to fine-tune Israel’s seismological equipment to give advance warning of earthquakes. Measurements will also be taken in other countries, including Cyprus, Greece, France, and Germany.

    Israel will create a controlled explosion of 80 tons of explosive material, which will simulate the intensity of a tremor after an earthquake of Magnitude 3. Natural earthquakes of a similar intensity occur in the Middle East region about once a week, without the public feeling them.

    In the last few years, the Geophysical Institute has created several earthquake simulations in order to calibrate its equipment. In June 2004, the institute detonated 32 tons of explosives in the southern Negev. In June 2005, the institute detonated 20 tons in the Beit Alfa quarries in the Jezreel Valley south of the Galilee. The success of the experiments has significantly contributed to improving the accuracy of identifying earthquakes in Israel.”

    link to theuglytruth.wordpress.com

    • yonira
      January 25, 2010, 10:14 am

      you are a fucking idiot rehmat.

      • Chaos4700
        January 26, 2010, 12:19 am

        Oscar the garbage-mouthed grouch strikes again. Granted, this story is nothing more than tin foil hat, but I find it ironic that your response can’t really be distinguished from an Andrew Dice Clay punch line.

      • Oscar
        January 26, 2010, 8:45 am

        Chaos, in the immortal words of Travis Bickle . . . “You talkin’ to me?”

        I admit I’m a grouch on I/P, but I think your response was intended for Yonira. If I wanted to channel Andrew Dice Clay, I’d try to work in his “Little Miss Muffett” routine somehow.

  24. Psychopathic god
    January 24, 2010, 8:36 pm

    the leaders of the people of the United States likewise “Don’t see Hasbara as Warfare.” Rather than defending the Republic from its enemies, America’s leaders are collaborating with those who are waging war on innocent civilians.

  25. RoHa
    January 24, 2010, 8:59 pm

    “Good for the Jews.”

    So is it just self-interest that is important?
    Not moral principle?
    Not universal human concern?

    • Shingo
      January 25, 2010, 5:05 am

      “‘Not universal human concern? “‘

      If the concern was universal, Israel woudl not be massacaring and starving Palestinians in it’s own back garden.

      • RoHa
        January 25, 2010, 10:55 pm

        So if I suggest that “Jewishness”, or at least the variety that keeps asking “is it good for the Jews?”, is fundamentally immoral, no-one is going to scream “anti-Semite” at me?

  26. Richard Parker
    January 25, 2010, 6:31 am

    Mooser I hate to disagree with you, but you are plain wrong:
    :Mooser January 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm
    And BTW, the motives of the individuals involved in the Israeli effort may be good, nobody disputes that. And they have no control over how the Israeli regime, or its supporters elsewhere, use their efforts.
    If you want to go further, I might even say that the hasbara products are an insult to the pure and charitable motives of the people involved. Happy now?
    So let’s see how long they stay.

    They’ve left today, 11 days into the emergency. Nothing was pure and charitableabout their major effort, though to be fair, private Israeli agency teams may be staying on.

    Port-au-Prince, Haiti — The crowd broke out in cheers as an ambulance pulled out of what was once Haiti’s main tax administration office, carrying a survivor rescued from the wreckage by an Israeli team four days after this city’s devastating earthquake.

    Bravo!” the onlookers shouted. “We love you, Israel.”

    It was a picture-perfect moment for Israeli public diplomacy.

    But Major Zohar Moshe, commander of the rescue team, dismissed the notion. “It is not about that, it is about saving lives,” he said.

    Nevertheless, on the ground was a retinue of Israelis dedicated to making sure people heard about their country’s humanitarian mission and spreading the word. Press officers from the Israeli military were flown in, as were photographers and a video team to document the work of Israeli medical and rescue personnel. They distributed daily footage to the press. Representatives of Israeli and foreign media were embedded with the group, and other reporters were invited.

    A day after the Israeli field hospital opened, two Israeli officers in uniforms canvassed the row of TV producers sitting in their broadcast positions along the city airport’s runway. “We’re telling them about our hospital,” one said.

    But no prodding was needed. The press swarmed to the Israeli site, and what they saw impressed them.
    from, of all sources, the Jewish Daily Forward
    link to forward.com

    Their fist publicity coup was: at Israel’s Haiti field hospital, they delivered what the Israeli PR flacks called “the first baby since the earthquake.” The medical staff urged the woman to name her baby “Israel” and she was only to eager to oblige. Another Israeli PR coup!
    link to richardsilverstein.com

    To lift their spirits, the rescue workers from ZAKA taught Haitian survivors to sing “Heiveinu Shalom Aleichem.”

    Whether clad in IDF uniforms, wearing the flag of Israel on their shoulders or holding Shabbat prayers during a brief break from their rescue work, the Israeli aid workers’ visible presence in Haiti is helping to promote a positive image of Israel in a world more accustomed to seeing the nation negatively.

    “I am sure it is good for the Israeli image, but we’re not doing it only because of this,” said Danny Biran, ambassador of logistical and administrative affairs for Israel’s mission to the United Nations and the Americas. “We are doing it because we believe in what we are doing.”
    link to zionism-israel.com

  27. Richard Parker
    January 25, 2010, 7:12 am

    I’m surprised the Israeli team didn’t teach the dumbfounded Haitiens ‘Have a Nargileh’. Haiti grows precious little nowadays, but does export some very good pot and hashish.
    The song was created and sung by Israeli troops occupying Southern Lebanon for 18 years from 1982 to 2000, as a very obvious spoof on ‘Hava Nakila’, which everybody knows.

    (A nargileh is a water pipe, called hookah elsewhere).

    • Mooser
      January 25, 2010, 12:10 pm

      Gosh, that reminds me, it’s 9:00 AM. Time to bubble the hubble.

  28. Chaos4700
    January 26, 2010, 12:16 am

    It’s like schadenfreude is the very lifeblood of Israel.

  29. unverified__f05iemmb
    January 26, 2010, 2:06 am

    Nice piece of work. I have felt for years that direct translations from the Hebrew-language Israeli press are the best form of exposure of Israeli tactics: they seldom need much comment, because the contrast between what appears in the Hebrew-language and English-language press often speaks for itself. Didi Remez’ Coteret is also doing a lot of this, mainly from Yediot. best, Rowan.

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